03 December 2015

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Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 14 (Recap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on December 03, 2015
When New Year's Eve comes, new devilish plans from his arch enemy Xie Yu demand Mei Changsu's special attention. Can he not have one day of peace, this poor man?
JoAnne: Thank you for this picture of my Meng. Although he does look sort of like an emo hipster in a white turtleneck having a bit of a pout on his bed, complete with man bun.
Wow. You're on to something. General Meng, the first hipster in history? 
Eleanor: My first thought was: I didn't remember Meng Zhi having a tattoo, oh wait, it's a pillow. Perhaps I should clean my glasses or put in my contacts or something. 

Episode 14

"Turn back now", Mei Changsu tells Yujin's dad; who is under the impression that Su has come to bring him down, knowing everything about the assassination plan. Not in the least, though: In fact, Mei Changsu would prefer if Marquis Yan would continue meditating on the Dao - and nothing else. Yan Que is still suspicious: there is no kindness in this world without a price, he knows. He has devotion and loyalty, Mei Changsu says (for not forgetting Consort Chen and for keeping General Lin in high regard), and because people with these characteristics are a dying breed, he wants to save them all. Just lay low and observe - that is payment enough for him.
I was so worried YuJin's dad was going to be one of the bad guys. He took an ill-advised detour but he'll be okay!
Aw. I feel so badly for him. He helped put the Emperor on the throne and all he got in return was the love of his life stolen and his best friends massacred. I'm so glad that Mei Changsu is looking out for him. Now maybe he can try and be a better father to Yujin. 
Marquis Yen is very much impressed by the scholar and he wonders what virtues Prince Yu must have to deserve such a strategist by his side. Because he himself despises the Prince, who is too much like his father: These men may look righteous on the outside, but their hearts are cold and cruel! At the very end of the conversation, Yujin's father asks of Su to take care of Yujin in case he, the Marquis, meets with misfortune. 
Which of course means that he WILL. Sorry, Sunny Boy.
I wonder sometimes how this must just wear on Lin Shu. The Marquis is someone he knew as Lin Shu I believe and not only is he desperately trying to bring justice to his family and the Chiyan warriors, but he is also trying to protect all the living who are or were once dear to him and his family. Oh Mei Changsu. I know he's a strategist, but I do think that he is honourable. 
Prince Yu is getting dressed and shows a moment of tenderness towards his Consort, who has kept his slowly recovering mother so much company. He is then informed that they found the person for the "He-situation": a tramp who looks about 80% like He's son. The plan? Yup, to swap the two! In on the plan is the Minister of Justice Qi. It's all hush-hush and very secret of course. A warning for He: even though it's New Year's do not let your son be at home during the festivities!
That's disgusting.
Ugh. If only the world had changed since then. We need love in this world! Not slimeballs. 
The next day, Minister Shen sees that Minister He seems much better. Since Shen knows his was an illness of the heart, what remedy has his heart been given for him to be well again? Of course, Su also hears about it. He muses that Yu probably did something desperate to get He back into his position, seeing how important he is for his cash-flow. It is Li Gang who mentions he might have put in a fake.
That Li Gang is one smart guy.
I also really love him in The Diguiser (he's Airplane Wang's buddy in the KMT). 
Li Gang wasn't fully serious, but Su realizes that yes, that must be it! Almost happy, Su busts out the Ministers' two badges. They just need to leak this news to Xie Yu and he will do the rest for them...
He wasn't fully serious, it's true, but those 'jokes' are often our subconscious floating possibilities out there. We need to trust our instincts more. Unless we're an idiot, I mean. Sadly, idiots are always the last to know...
Sometimes it's good to know that the bad guys are so greedy that they basically do themselves in without Su having to do much. Haha. Love it! 
Indeed, Xie Yu's smirk is as wide as a street when he realizes how dumb these people are. In addition, Zhuo Qingyao (aka known as Pretty Zhuo here) tells him that even though the smart plan for Minister He would have been to send his son as far away as possible, he is in fact back at the Mansion. OMG, noooooo. When Minister He wants to smuggle out his son in the dead of night after reuniting him with grandma, Xie Yu is already waiting outside with Count Wenyuan.... BUSTED. And brought to the Emperor.
Idiots abound.
Seriously. I guess this is what happens with entitled people - they think they can always bend the law to their own advantage and that they'll never get caught. 
Thanks to a little help from Xie Yu, the news spreads through the whole Capital the next day, which means the Emperor cannot just sweep it under the rag. Oh wow, Prince Yu ... losing two ministers at the same time? That must hurt! Jingrui is agitated when he hears about the case, launching into a dangerous little rant about the Emperor being the ultimate source of such immoral behavior. We're not surprised to hear that he has those dangerous ideas from Su, with whom he debated day and night in Lang Province when they first met. But why, when he has such ideals, would Su choose Yu, Jingrui wonders? But what if, what if.... Yujin begins ... what if he is not really supporting Prince Yu? He has... a feeling about it. That's not very convincing for Jingrui, of course, and I guess Mei Changsu's plans can stay hidden a little longer still...
Our little sunny goofball pays attention to his feelings about things, see? Not such a goofball after all. I swear to God, Kakashi, it freaks me out a little, how often we have this synchronicity. I had no idea what you'd written and didn't even remember him making the comment!
And the Internets thank you for your synchronicity. Jingrui is by far one of my favourite characters in this show. Pay attention to those feelings Jingrui! He would make an excellent advisor to Prince Jing. I'm glad he's on Team Mei Chang Su. 
Nihuang has felt an urge to see her Lin Shu gege, it seems, cause she is sitting next to him, while he burns the two badges from the Minister of Personnel and Minister of Justice. This won't be a happy New Year for Yu, he comments. Understatement of the (new) year! Nihuang wonders about the power balance, now that Yu has lost two supporters at once. The Crown Prince has actually just one strong ally and that is Xie Yu, Mei Changsu answers. Taking him down has been part of his plan from the very beginning. It will probably also be the hardest part of the whole plan...
Xie Yu is no dummy. It should be a fun battle of wits.
Oh Nihuang. If only you would scooch over a bit and snuggle up to Su gege under that blanket of his. It would help keep him warm. You know you want to. You know we want you to a well. 
And with that, it's the New Year! All the princes receive gifts from their father. The Crown Prince and Prince Yu receive by far the most. Prince Jing received an extra gift too, awww. Jingrui collects two red envelopes from his two sets of mothers. Awwwww, and his brother, Pretty Zhuo, has trained a new horse for him!
I like Pretty Zhuo! Whyyyyy does he have to be doing bad things?
Yay! Jingyan got a present! Give him all the presents! I also like Pretty Zhuo. It really is too bad that he fell in with the wrong crowd. He would be a great addition to Team Mei Chang Su. 
At the Yan mansion, things are much more quiet. But this time, Yan Que is not leaving his son alone - they will wait for the new year together. Awww... looks like Su Zhe mended a relationship.
This very special moment brought to you with Season's Greetings by Dragon TV, your entertainment provider of choice. 'When you want the best, choose Dragon!'
Aw! The warm fuzzy feels. Yujin looks so happy. It's so lovely! 
At the Su Residence, Su celebrates with his servants and ... Physician Yan, who is still in a very bad mood, but not for long. Cause who can resist Mei Changsu's bright smile? He looks lovely in this special robe.
It is a nice robe. I've decided I just really hate his wig.
*THUD* Hears the sound of women all over the world falling over with that smile. 
At the palace, the Noble Consort Yue is sliming her way into the Emperor's heart, while Prince Yu glowers. Crown Prince is bored. Etc. The Emperor decides that an extra dish of quail eggs is to go to Mu-palace and the whole place basically gasps. A horde of Eunuchs leaves the palace, with the dishes in little baskets. Outside, Meng's palace guard is ready to escort them to their destinations.
Geez what's the big deal? They aren't even the size of regular eggs!
It's the symbol Jo, the symbol. I also think they are a delicacy. Consort Yue reminds me of a snake. 
Oh no...... at the Yu mansion, Zhuo the Elder exchanges glances with his son once the four grown ups leave the festivities... And indeed, black-clad and masked warriors attack one group of palace guards and kill them all. The Elder Zhuo uses a very special sword technique! Throwing it like a boomerang.
What did those poor guys ever do to you, Unpretty Zhuo? Wasn't it bad enough they had to work New Year's Eve?
Noooooooo!!! Don't be so bad Zhuo family. You are going to get Pretty Zhuo killed! No! That was a pretty cool sword trick though. 
The next day comes with snow... and a somber Yujin, bowing deeply in front of Mei Changsu. This is for talking to his father, who stayed up with him and told him everything. And he bows again. His father does not regret what he wanted to do - but he is still glad Su Zhe stopped him. Yujin shows great insight during their talk - it's actually quite moving. This boy, who seemed so shallow, is actually quite the opposite.
I do like him. Yes, he's playful and silly, but he's also observant, loyal, affectionate, and brave. Unless you're talking about wells. Or ghosts.
I got teary eyed just reading about this scene again. Despite all the terrible things that Su has endured, he is making the world around him, for the people he loves, a better place. Oh Yujin. You would also make an excellent advisor to Prince Jing. I love that all the people who are "disciples" of Mei Chang Su are such excellent people. He knows how to bring together good people. 
At the palace, the Emperor has just been told about the massacred guards. He screams at Meng Zhi for neglecting his duty and then orders him flogged. Plus, Meng Zhi has 30 days to investigate this case and find the culprit... or else.
Not sure how I feel about this. Should his guys have been better trained? Probably. The goal is not dying, after all. But otherwise...how is the Palace Guard responsible for outside the palace? It's not like Meng was even part of that group!
I think Meng Zhi is sort of in charge of all the guards, or maybe I'm getting that wrong. It is also another sign of the impulsive and reckless behaviour of the Emperor. Instead of being rational about things, he lashes out in violence. It's just more to demonstrate that he handles matters poorly and is not a good leader. I mean, he has 70,000 troops massacred, including one of his friends, Lin Xie, because of his violent, suspicious nature. I know he acts cute and harmlessly around his consorts, but he's not a good leader at all - he is violent and rash. 
Su tells Fei Liu, who is admiring plum blossoms he stole from Prince Jing's gardens, to follow him to the Mu Palace: they have much better flowers there. Both Nihuang and her brother are delighted to see Su, who is bringing a special kind of dessert. They're sitting together, talking about whether Mu Qing is just a baby (Nihuang's overall opinion) or will be a great general with the right grooming (Mr. Su), when word comes in about the murder outside the palace walls.
What? Su didn't know about it already, with his network?
Oh Su and Fei Liu are so cute. And I love that Fei Liu loves flowers. So cute. Mu Qing is also absolutely lovely. Ah! I just love this cast!
Su's first question is for Commander Meng, who, after having received his flogging, can barely walk. Awww. Mei Changsu does not like to hear about the flogging and the 30-days deadline. Who is happy though? Yes, Xie Yu, the bastard. He knows that Meng Zhi will never be able to figure this case out. But they must be more wary of the Xuanjing Bureau, who will most likely also be tasked.
Awww, Mengie.
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. 
Mei Changsu is not worried about Meng's current situation, though, but worried about the repercussions of this. He suspects that whoever did this will try to even further erode his Majesty's trust in his Commander, even though he is not quite sure what the motif behind all this really is. At Marquis Ning's house, Xie Yu is plotting his next steps. He has hired specialized pugilist fighters for it.  
No one can stand against Su!
Su will get all the bad guys in the end! 

Comments

Xie Yu is Mei Changsu's real enemy - and it's going to be a tough battle, that much is clear. The man knows how to plot himself and once he starts going, people die. I have confidence that Su will stop these evil plans against Meng Zhi in time, but there is so much on Su's plate already. Keeping it all together must cost him immense energies.
I keep wondering how long he expects this all to take.
Mei Changsu just gets more and more impressive with each episode. 

The biggest surprise in this episode was Yujin, though. It did not take much, but having his father turn to him and tell him about his hurts and plans meant the world to him. And it seems it unlocked something that he previously kept buried. A very thoughtful, very bright young man.
Our Sunny Boy is a bright spot!
I luff him!

This episode shows how much this drama is about virtue (德). Only very few characters in this show have it - a few struggle to get it, but most are horrible sinners. Social status, according to Daoism, is not a birth right, but follows from the amount of virtue that one demonstrates. The Monarch therefore must have virtue - if he does not, he will poison his subjects with his immorality.
Certain things roll down hill...
And Mei Changsu, he has virtue in buckets. 


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